Amazon.com expands its ‘e-tail’ range

Amazon.com, the Internet bookseller, is launching services selling toys and consumer electronics in its first major expansion beyond books and music.

The move, announced this week by chief executive Jeff Bezos, is the latest step in Amazon’s “e-tail” plans to become the biggest virtual department store on the Internet.

The toys and electronics services will initially be available to US customers, though Amazon is expected to expand the scheme to Europe.

Amazon tested sales of a limited selection of toys and electronics through a gift section it introduced last year. The new services will offer thousands of products in each category.

The online toy market is limited, amounting to $52m (&£33m) sales in the US last year. The leading Internet operation is eToys.

The electronics sector is more problematic for Amazon, since manufacturers are wary of upsetting their dealers by selling online. It may have problems sourcing top consumer electronics brands.

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